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California orders slaughter of 400,000 sick chickens

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than 400,000 chickens at a San Bernardino County commercial farm were ordered destroyed Wednesday after testing positive for a disease that has forced the quarantine of Southern California's poultry.

It was the fifth commercial chicken farm hit by exotic Newcastle disease, which is a threat to the state's $3 billion industry and forced the slaughter of more than 1.7 million chickens since it was discovered in September.

The farm, which was not identified, was near backyard flocks that were infected with the disease, said Larry Cooper, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.